It is midwinter in my little corner of the world, and this coming weekend we are taking the younglings to the snow.

Being in Australia doesn’t make you immune from the popular imagery of different times of the year, and how things should be. Take winter for example. The youngest of the younglings wants to make a snowman this weekend – so we need a carrot and some stones. It is, finally, the time of year that some of the Christmas carols make sense (or they would if it were Christmas – don’t think we are doing Christmas in July this year). Although I really could get behind snow and cold during our Christmas celebrations which happen in the middle of the Australian summer (not fun for me). There is a part of me which wonders what it would be like to have snow on the ground, and be snowed in and not be able to go anywhere… we had a day like that once. A “black snow” day where we had to stay home because there had been a fire at a chemical plant and there was toxic smoke near where I worked and the kids went to school. But it wasn’t really the same to be honest.

Now this is a (sometimes) quilting blog, and sometimes I really do quilt. Like the past few days I have been actually sewing, keeping up with the bee blocks, working on the Steam Punk quilt and a few other things… actually I think it may be time for a bit of a “what am I working on now” roundup and posting.

You may have noticed that I have given up putting the month in the title of the post – I am doing this for strategic and I don’t want to feel guilty about it reasons. I had managed to keep things going for the start of the month post, recapping on what had happened in the month previously. But when I didn’t meet this goal, I felt like I was something like a failure – and honestly there are other things I can be feeling like I am a failure about which would be more productive than that. So I am giving myself a break.

The year long mission to look after myself a bit better is stumbling along. I mentioned in the post about the Sydney quilt show (thanks to those who reached out after that, I too was glad – yet disappointed – that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way)… I mentioned that I had been diagnosed as Celiac (hello to my sister who I forgot to call and tell who read it on my blog… sorry), well I have been “clean” for about two weeks now and there are some changes. It is actually a bit easier to be gluten free when you just can’t have it. It isn’t a lifestyle choice or a preference, it is my reality. I just hope that I can continue to have milk as well because it may actually kill me to give up milk and cheese.

Having said that – I am not a fan of GF bread. Not. At. All.

I am waiting for my squirrel – Welcome to May

The offending Acorn

Kids are funny little creatures… take the Youngling, a small red-headed child who loves tomatoes and strawberries. We went on an adventure so that he could climb into a helicopter and pretend to be flying through the jungle (something he really seemed to enjoy), and along the way I picked up an acorn. I was assured by the Youngling that I needed to be careful, because if I had an acorn then it would attract squirrels, and that was something to be avoided.

It didn’t seem to matter that we don’t have squirrels here in Australia, well not in the same way that he has seen them on television, because he was sure that if I bought the acorn home we would be overrun with the little creatures. Of course the cat would love that for slightly different reasons. I am pretty sure that he has decided that I am not a human and just terrible at being a cat.

The last month I have continued to do my 100 days of crafting, although I am not posting it on Instagram as much as I possibly should. I don’t think I have sewn this much in a long time – not just quilts (I am working on a new one for me) – but also my own designs, something I have been wanting to do for a very long time.

It seems like everything is coming together in a way that I have been working for it to. Funny how that happens.

Meanwhile, I shall wait for my squirrel.

And Spring is with us – welcome to September


September is a busy month within the Family Stronghold (right up there with March), birthdays and other significant anniversaries mean that it can be a bit up and down, but experience tells me that we get through and October comes. For those of us in this part of the world it also means the beginning of spring and all of the sneezes that brings.

This is the month of my birthday – making it to 40 was a huge achievement (my mother died when she was 39), so 43 should be okay. My Eldest is 22 and has actually requested something for his birthday… the local cinema does special things on Monday nights and just following his birthday The Princess Bride is showing as part of their “Quote Along” series (no shusshing allowed) and he has requested that we go to that as a family – who am I to argue with that.

It is also the last month of the quarter for the FAL – and I haven’t really managed to get anything achieved for the month. Progress yes, finished no. May have to have a big push on the shawl to get it done (and before it is too hot to use it).

Do you remember the beginning?

Little Miss 1

I don’t actually remember learning to sew – I just always have. Be it the dolls clothes on Nin’s treadle machine (which I now have), or the bits and pieces by hand, I have always “just known” how to sew. I remember home economics in high school was a bit on the amusing side, because I was not interested in making a pillowcase, or a “simple bag” like everyone else… actually thinking about it I was probably a  bit of a pain about it all.

I have had the pleasure of stepping a youngling through the beginnings of learning to sew…

Little Miss sewing lines

After some discussion on safety issues and sewing machines, Little Miss decided to try her hand using my machine (which I was very okay with her doing) by sewing lines ruled on paper. One of the features of my Janome is the ability to control the speed of the stitch – which we were both happy to slow down a bit.

One of the interesting comments from her was about my offer to show her her how to hand sew… apparently she thinks she will stick to the machine for the moment (it was a very grown up and “I know my own mind” kind of voice she was using.

It won’t be long until I think I will do to her what was done to me… handed scissors and fabric and told to go for it. I predict that at least at the beginning all of the dolls will have their own custom made pillows… I look forward to their dresses.

I honestly don’t remember my beginning of sewing, do you remember yours?

A Weekend in the Country

File 17-11-2015, 8 45 28 PMThis weekend just past, I ended up doing a quick trip home.

My grandmother is turning 98 this week and she is moving out of the home she has lived in for the past 60 or so years, so my presence was requested to take some of the things away (I am not going to write about this now, the amount of raw wool and handspun I have bought back to Canberra in quite amazing). What I did find very interesting, and is actually playing out in this paragraph, is the concept of home.

I don’t go home often; and after the farm leaves family hands it will be the last of the ties I have there, well the ties that aren’t people. I have only ever felt the feeling of home in the houses of my grandparents. My maternal grandmother and I were very close, but due to a series of unfortunate events, I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Both my grandfathers died a few years ago now, but it was always my grandmothers that I was particularly close to.

the-grandmothersKit (L) and Thelma (R) in 2008 at an ANZAC Day commemoration.

What I have been thinking about since we have come back to Canberra, is how I can recreate some of the feelings and connections I have with that little valley in the country. I can’t move back (quite frankly the internet doesn’t cut it and then there is my job), but what I can do it try and be a part of the community here.

Moving so many times – 9 times in 18 years – meant that making real community connections was almost impossible. You would just settle in a place before it was time to move to the next one… but I have been in Canberra for five years now, and I don’t see me moving anytime soon.

Perhaps it is time to join in a bit?

Ideas anyone?